Westboro Baptist Church plans to protest Dunn's funeral
"Jackass" star Ryan Dunn, 34, famous for his pranks and dangerous stunts, died in a car wreck in Pennsylvania on Monday.
June 22nd, 2011
05:40 PM ET

Westboro Baptist Church plans to protest Dunn's funeral

A controversial church in Topeka, Kansas, plans to send parishioners to Pennsylvania to protest the funeral of “Jackass” star Ryan Dunn, the congregation announced in a press release.

Westboro Baptist Church "will picket any public memorial/funeral held for Dunn, warning all not to make a mock of sin, & to fear and obey God!” the release said.

Westboro was started by the Rev. Fred Phelps in 1955. The church's parishioners, made up mostly of Phelps relatives, stage protests with signs that say such things as "God Hates Fags" and "Thank God for dead soldiers."

The funeral director for DellaVecchia, Reilly, Smith & Boyd Funeral Home in West Chester said Wednesday afternoon that a family-only private memorial for Dunn was in progress - and there was no problem.

Because it was a private memorial, Joseph DellaVecchia said, he didn't expect any disturbances, although he'd heard of Westboro's plans.

“We can’t stop someone from coming to a public funeral, but this is private, and the police have everything under control,” DellaVecchia said.

A public funeral is planned for later in the week.

“Our department recognizes that we have an ethical and legal imperative to uphold civil rights of those who choose to lawfully assemble to protest but also of family members mourning at a funeral," West Chester Police Chief Scott Bohn said Wednesday.

Dunn was drunk and driving up to 140 mph when his 2007 Porsche 911 GT3 crashed and caught fire on a Pennsylvania highway Monday, police said Wednesday.

The red-bearded Dunn, 34, was famous for his pranks and dangerous stunts on the MTV show, which evolved into a successful film franchise.

Westboro protesters, known for picketing the funerals of U.S. soldiers, have recently been met with counter-protesters at funerals across the nation.

At Arlington National Cemetery in Washington last month, counter-protesters, some claiming to be from the Ku Klux Klan, squared off against Westboro Baptist members.

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Filed under: Pennsylvania • Protest • U.S.
soundoff (798 Responses)
  1. Bobden

    The world needs to tell fred phelps to sit down and shut up.
    My 2 cents to fred - "sit down and shut up."
    fred, you are a disgusting person.

    June 22, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • No we dont

      The world (especially the media) need to stop giving this church any attention. That is what they are looking for. SCOTUS says these people have a right to do it. There is no longer a story here. Further perpetuation of their desire only encourages them

      June 22, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. keylargo

    Once again I'm puzzled at what these people are protesting. Sooner or later they'll cross the wrong people and someone will get hurt. I'll bet its not that coward Fred Phelps!

    June 22, 2011 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lizzy

      That's why they do it. To invoke as much hatred, that someone takes action against them, so that they may sue them.

      June 22, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bubba boy

      This is not going to turn out good for the phelps clan.

      June 22, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Fidel Castro

    Don't these guys ever quit?

    June 22, 2011 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Runaway1956

      Not as long as there are lowlife editors willing to publish stories about them . . .

      June 22, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Runaway1956

    I'm still waiting to read a report about some ex-soldier with PTSD and/or PMS going into that "church", and blowing everyone away. It's almost bound to happen. And, I'll contribute to that soldeir's legal defense fund!

    June 22, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • There are no gods!

      So, you support the slaughter of individuals? Their children to? How is that any less disgusting than what Westboro church is doing? You think the answer is to take away human life? Violence is not heroism.

      June 22, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joy Camilleri

      please there is enough of people out there who think of doing awful things like that don't plant ideas, That makes you no better than them!!!!!!

      June 22, 2011 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. uscentral

    Wouldn't a funeral be considered a private affair? Shouldn't that be afforded some rights of privacy? If not, would I be afforded some consideration under the law if I violently react to someone intentionally trying to provoke me while I am in a sensitive state? Kind of like yelling fire in a theater?

    June 22, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Believer

    what kind a church is that, at the time the family is suffering for loss of loved one, these idiots como with words of destruction, The Lord has never been in this church, they may say He is , but I don't believe He has ever been. What a shame.!!

    June 22, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Runaway1956

      I think Phelps had a satanic ritual, making his "church" and the ground it stands on "unhallowed".

      June 22, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Drew

    I dare them to protest this funeral. Bam and the boys will not sit there and take it.

    June 22, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tony

    I sure hope Rev? Phelps was listening to the Chief. Protest if you wanna, but somebody's going to get hurt.

    June 22, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mark

    One of the first things the church 'says' it teaches is tolerance and to love everyone. So where is it with this flock? With 'churches' like this one it's no wonder some are seen as nothing more than a money making business...

    June 22, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. leeintulsa

    This isn't a group, it's a family. Like the mansons or the gottis. They are freaks trying to stay relevent.

    It does suck that cnn feeds the trolls.

    June 22, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Joy Camilleri

    The Protesters have no respect for Dunn's Family and I don't think by protesting they will get through any golden gates!!!!

    June 22, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. in the middle of a war

    The guy was a dbag. and this church is pretty much inbreds. they need to realize he got what he deserved. and they also need to realize theyll get what they deserve if they dont stop their mock on christianity. to all of those who arent christian, do not look at these people and see christians. see false christians. people who dont know what theyre saying in anyway. if they understood anything about jesus they would know he wouldnt have condoned such protesting. hes dead get over it. the real problem is that they post this crap all over cnn.

    June 22, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • rick

      the guy was a dbag? because he did something stupid?

      June 22, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Kent Whipple

    Why do you keep giving this cult press? They are crazy.

    June 22, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rearden71

    Wait wait wait wait. A church protesting something based on their judgement of that thing? A church judging? Religious...people...judging!? Shut up. Just shut up. There's no way religious people are hypocrites.

    June 22, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Bob

    What a coward. If this guy really wanted to protest sin, why don't they protest at funerals for gang members or mafia?

    June 22, 2011 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
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